Library Cuts Hours: Pisses Everyone Off
Being an enrolled undergraduate or graduate student at a university means lots of work and assignments at all hours of the day and night.
There are over 13,000+ undergraduate students and 2,400 graduate students, according to the UNH website, putting the total well over 15,000 students.
Where are students going to study and do work for classes?
The obvious answer is UNH Dimond Library, located at the center of campus. The library is the ultimate spot for late-night studiers, with a vast majority of rooms and resources but now, the hours have changed and some students are upset.
The Dimond library used to be open until 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Now, they’re open until 12 a.m. on Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10p.m. on Sunday.
From a student perspective, this change is frustrating and as a library student worker, I have witnessed this frustration first-hand numerous times.
The library is a location on campus that offers a lot of amenities, though the new hours threaten the wide range of time in which they’re available.
The quiet study lounges are a huge asset to the library, in addition to the new break-out alcoves, printing stations, scanners, desktop computers, books on reserve for classes, and various seating with lots of charging outlets.
If the library is so popular and has great services, why did the hours change?
Over the summer, the Dimond Library changed their hours due to budgets cuts, dwindling numbers of employees able to work late-night shifts, and collected data showing how many students were utilizing the library during the late hours.
Kimberly Sweetman, Associate Dean of the University Library, explains why Dimond hours changed.
“Based on an extensive review of library hours and use patterns we have adjusted library hours in order to maintain services during those hours in which the libraries [Dimond, Chemistry, and Physics branches] are in greatest demand,” she said.
Due to unusual circumstances, Sweetman said the late-night staffers resigned so administration rethought the late-night hours at Dimond.
“We had observed that use dropped off late at night, and therefore investigated the statistics and worked out a schedule that more closely matched actual student demand,” Sweetman said.
Dimond will be open 24-hours during finals week each semester and according to Sweetman, “[the library is] investigating possible ways in which we could expand our hours during other times of peak demand.”
Despite whether the old library hours were fully utilized by large numbers of students, it is frustrating to junior Michael Kelsey who uses the library “all the time.”
“I don’t like them one bit,” said Kelsey, shaking his head in regard to the new hours.
When Kelsey first realized what the new hours were, he didn’t believe it.
“I thought the announcement going off [over the intercom] was a mistake, then I realized the library was actually closing,” Kelsey said. “I was prepared to be there a lot longer.”
For Kelsey, the library is his main hub, he describes it as his place to “eat, sleep, procrastinate, as well as get work done,” and he often spends at least five consecutive hours in the library— usually at night.
As for working on other spots on campus like his dorm or the MUB (memorial union building), it isn’t quite the same vibe.
“I work the best in the library…” Kelsey said. “Every time it closes I leave in protest.”
As a circulation desk worker on Sunday nights, I see many people ‘leaving in protest,’ like Kelsey.
Each Sunday night around 9:55 p.m. many students come up to the desk asking, “why is the library closing?” and “is this temporary?” as well as similar variations of these questions. Students often leave the circulation desk unsatisfied and unhappy with the new hours.
There have been instances where the library was closing and a student needed a book on reserve to finish an assignment, but couldn’t take it out because the reserve was ‘in-library use only.’
Books on reserve are books professors bring to the library for their students to check out: ranging from 1-day, 4-hour, and 2-hour rental periods.
Yes, the library offers great resources online, but books within the library and on reserve cannot be utilized unless it is actually open— along with the other amenities.
Dimond library has justifiable reasons for changing the hours, but only students who are willing to speak up can make a real difference. If you use the library or are upset with the new hours, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.